The UK’s fraud prevention service, CIFAS, announced that in 2015 the number of people in the UK who became victims of credit or identity fraud rose by 31% compared to 2014.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, employees or customers from wily identity thieves and credit and identity fraud.
What is identity fraud?
Identity fraud is when your details – your name, address, and other personal details – are used by another person. This can be in the form of financial or credit fraud, in which your details are used by someone else to obtain credit, goods or services, and in some cases even take over an existing account. It may also be in the form of impersonation, where someone uses your details to conceal their own identity.
- Identity fraud is one of the UK’s fastest growing crimes.
- 24% of UK citizens have been a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest figure in Europe.
- 63% of victims have suffered financial loss; ID fraud has cost British victims an average of £1,076 per person to date, but has been as high as £30,000 in one case
Fraud Prevention at the office
Under the UK Data Protection Act all businesses have a responsibility to ensure all stored confidential details are protected securely, and confidential waste containing the details of employees, clients and customers is disposed of properly to minimize the risk of fraud for people whose details your company handles.
- Only 56% of organisations have a comprehensive policy to help protect people’s identities, and there has been no improvement in this respect in the past three years.
- Almost two thirds of Europeans still think their organisation should be doing more to ensure the secure handling of confidential documents, and prevention of identity fraud.
Not shredding your documents makes it easy to steal your details
Install a shredder
Install a cross cut shredderin your offices, making sure it’s convenient to get to so your staff aren’t tempted to use the bin instead.
Home shredders tend to be small and portable, but often don’t have a huge capacity for storage or for shredding non-stop for long periods of time. These may be suitable for home office lightweight shredding.
Commercial paper shredders are larger and may have features such as quiet mode, jam prevention and safety features or switching off if fingers are detected near the paper entry. A heavy duty cross cut shredder can cut through stapled documents and CDs.With the appropriate maintenance and re-oiling with shredder oil, a good quality shredder can last for years.
Use a screen filter
If you’re using your laptop or tablet for work or banking while out of the house, investing in a laptop screen filter or tablet screen filter will prevent opportunistic identity fraudsters from peeking over your shoulder to take details from your screen.
Keep documents in a safe, secure place
Ensure documents are secured in a secure filing systems or safes should an opportunistic visitor or disgruntled employee decide to steal details.
Be vigilant against online fraud
Ensure your networks are password protected and you have the latest anti-virus and anti malware software to prevent hackers stealing details from your network. Change passwords when employees leave, to ensure disgruntled ex-employees can’t access and use data.
Ensure your passwords are secure; they should contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, and numbers. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts, and don’t write your passwords down where opportunists may find them.
Staff need training to be vigilant against malware and ‘phishing’ scams.
Malware comes in many forms but can be protected against with an up to date anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall. Don’t download email attachments unless you know who it’s from and were expecting one. Your bank will not usually send you an .exe or .zip files. Couriers will not send you .exe or .zip files.
A ‘phishing’ scam is a fake website or email posing as an official organisation; such as HMRC, the DVLA or your bank, and it asks for sensitive details such as your full name, address, date of birth and even your password, passport number or driving license details. Never respond to an email requesting this information, as it is likely to be used for identity fraud.
Protect your data against thieves
A laptop lockshould be used for any laptop that may be at risk of being carried away, and secure encryption and passwords used to prevent access to data should it be stolen. When transporting digital information, use a secure flash drive with encryption, should it be stolen or lost.
Use these tips make sure you are protected against identity fraud and contact us today if you want to hear more about solutions for your business.